Winter Compost Tips

Though gardening seems like a spring activity, adding compost to your yard during the fall can protect it through the winter. Cat Murphy describes six reasons why you should add compost to your yard before winter. 

Why You Should Add Compost to Your Yard Before Winter

As lawns begin to go dormant to survive the long Colorado winters, it is essential to make sure that your yard is well cared for before the snow arrives. Compost is one of the primary sources of energy that Colorado gardeners use to protect their lawn over the winter as well as encourage quicker greening up come spring. Check out all of these reasons why you should add compost to your yard before winter.

Compost Creates Better Growing Conditions

Overall, compost is essential in proper lawn and yard maintenance due to its ability to generate better-growing conditions. Compost holds water and air better than other soils and drains more efficiently making it a vital part of a healthy lawn. It also provides a food source for plants when there is no addition of added energy due to Colorado weather conditions. Compost also helps plants fight off pests which can be important in combating common scarab beetles in Colorado.

Compost is a Natural Form of Energy

Compost can either be made in a compost pile or purchased from a garden center. It is a form of decomposed organic matter that holds many vital nutrients and vitamins that every lawn requires. Many gardeners refer to compost as Black Gold given its rich complexion and numerable benefits. Bacteria and other microorganisms have worked hard to break down compost into the abundant energy that it is upon completion. Compost is a natural form of energy that doesn’t require the added chemicals that compose many fertilizers on the market.

Compost Allows Better Absorption

Adding compost to your yard in the cooler fall temperatures will help to enable the compost time to absorb into the ground properly. Compost has to mix into the soil with the use of microorganisms that take time. Cooler fall temperatures mean that your yard will mean less use than it had during the spring and summer. This lower amount of foot traffic allows the compost to slowly absorb into the soil instead of getting trampled and compacted.

Compost Guards Against Compaction

The weather is so beautiful during Colorado summers that many homeowners use their lawns non-stop during the warmer seasons. All of that traffic can quickly compact the top part of the soil and can cause stress to a lawn’s root system. Adding compost to the lawn will help in naturally mixing up the top part of the soil in with the compost itself. Mixing will loosen up the soil and allow the lawn adequate space to breathe and receive vital nutrients like water, sunlight, and oxygen.

Compost Strengthens Lawns

According to LawnStarter, the two most popular grass types in Colorado Springs, for example, are Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda grass, which are different season grass types. With Colorado’s USDA Hardiness Zones ranging from 4a-7b, both grass types significantly benefit from compost for each their own reasons. For warm-season grass types, in particular, the compost naturally provides an extra layer of protection to protect the roots from harsh winter conditions. This natural energy helps feed the lawn’s root system during its dormancy through winter. The root system protects it from freezing temperatures and gives the roots a quick boost of energy once the ground thaws. Compost is to grass-roots in the same way that extra fat is to a hibernating bear during the winter.

Compost Helps Deter Thatch

Many Colorado lawns can suffer from thatch build-up that has grown during the year. Thatch can quickly choke out a lawn and keep the root system from being able to have access to necessary nutrients. Compost will help decompose thatch thanks to the work of the microorganisms that mix it into the soil.

There are plenty of reasons to add compost to your lawn and yard. Compost is a natural source of energy that has many benefits for a lawn including guarding against pests, creating better growing conditions, and storing energy for hungry roots. Consider all of these reasons why you should add compost to your yard before winter hits in the Centennial State.

Cat Murphy is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. She enjoys cooking for family and friends and going on long hikes anywhere and everywhere in nature.

Originally published November 2018. Updated October 2020.